A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Durham vs. Virginia Beach for Families, Food, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit Durham or Virginia Beach?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Durham and Virginia Beach can help you decide which place is right for you.

Durham

Durham is a sports oriented, diverse, and student-filled city. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a fun-filled, relaxing, and bustling coastal city. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include nightlife and beaches.

Durham and Virginia Beach: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance


Is there more to do in Durham or Virginia Beach?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Durham than Virginia Beach. While Virginia Beach is larger than Durham, Durham has more sights and attractions for tourists. Durham is more popular for its museums, food, and shopping, while Virginia Beach is known for its resorts, beaches, and impressive beauty. Virginia Beach is more touristy than Durham and is popular for its fun boardwalk, many seafood restaurants, and classic beach town vibe. Durham is popular for its college town vibe as well as being the home of the famous Blue Devil basketball team. It is also home to the Duke University Chapel.

How is Durham different from Virginia Beach?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Virginia Beach and Durham. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Durham or Virginia Beach?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Durham is great for its historical sights. However, Virginia Beach does not have museums and landmarks.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Durham can be an interesting and educational experience. Duke University is one of the most popular destinations in town. There are several museums on campus as well as the famous Duke Chapel. Elsewhere in Durham there's the Durham Museum of Life and Science.

Virginia Beach does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Durham or Virginia Beach? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Durham is a nice place to visit for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Durham has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Barbecue is a favorite around town. You'll also find plenty of restaurants that cater to the student population, particularly along Nineth Street near Duke's campus.

Virginia Beach may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. Seafood is plentiful around town and there are all-you-can-eat buffets as well as high end, waterfront seafood restaurants. Make sure you try the She Crab Soup, soft shell crabs, and oysters.

Is Durham or Virginia Beach Better for Nightlife?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Both Durham and Virginia Beach are good when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Durham. The younger population tends to hang out near campus and along Nineth Street. If you're looking for something less student oriented, head to downtown Durham.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Virginia Beach. While it's a family-friendly beach, there's still a great nightlife scene with many bars and clubs in the area. Popular places to hang out at night include Omega Bar, Peabody's Nightclub, and Sky Bar.

Is Durham or Virginia Beach Better for Resorts?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is very good for its resorts. However, Durham is not a resort destination.

Virginia Beach has a few great resort options. Some of the best resorts in the area include the Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club, the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, and The Founders Inn and Spa.

Durham is not a resort destination.


Is Durham or Virginia Beach Better for Beaches?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is very good for the beach. However, Durham is not a beach destination.

Many people head to Virginia Beach to enjoy the beach. The beaches are long and sandy, but they can get crowded during the summer months. The waves are just the right size for playing in the surf and the water temperature is usually warm enough to swim well into the fall months.

Durham is not a beach destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Durham or Virginia Beach?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Durham is a nice place to visit for its shopping opportunities. However, Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Durham. The Streets of Southpoint is the best mall in the area. Other shopping areas include Brightleaf Square and Nineth Street.

Virginia Beach is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Durham or Virginia Beach Better for Families?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a well-known place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Durham is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Virginia Beach is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. This is a popular family-friendly beach with a nice boardwalk, a fun waterpark, aquarium, and nice beaches. It attracts families in the area for its long beaches and fun atmosphere. Most restaurants have kid's menus and there are ice cream shops and minigolf around.

Durham is a family-friendly city. A highlight for kids is a visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science. It has both an indoor and an outdoor section and brings science to life for families. There's also an impressive playground and climbing area. Other activities in town include the Notasium and Eno River State Park. If you plan ahead you could also organize a trip to the Duke Lemur Center.


Is Durham or Virginia Beach Better for Couples?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Both Durham and Virginia Beach are good destinations to visit as a couple.

Durham is a good city for couples to visit. Have a picnic at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens or spend the day hiking at Eno River State Park. In the evening there's a wonderful selection of restaurants around town. Then you can check out a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or see a Durham Bulls game.

Virginia Beach is a nice destination for couples. Couples will enjoy a nice escape to the beaches and boardwalk. There are many great seafood restaurants, some with waterfront settings. There's also a variety of activities ranging from many golf to dance clubs.

Is Durham or Virginia Beach Better for Students?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Durham is great for its student-friendly activities. Also, Virginia Beach is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for students.

Durham is a great city to visit as a student. Duke University has a stunning campus with a world class garden. There's also nearby Nineth Street, which has shops, restaurants, and bars that are geared toward the student population.

Virginia Beach is a good city to visit for students. It's not as popular as more southern beach towns, but you'll still find students heading here for the spring break holidays.

Is Durham or Virginia Beach Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Durham is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Virginia Beach is not a good destination for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Durham. There are buses around town, but you really need a car to explore the area.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Virginia Beach. There is very limited public transit in the area so you'll need to have a car to get around.


Is Durham or Virginia Beach a more walkable city?

Durham
Virginia Beach

Durham and Virginia Beach both are decent when exploring on foot.

Durham is generally not very walkable. Downtown Durham and a few areas near Duke University are the most walkable areas.

Virginia Beach is generally not a very walkable city. Most people prefer to have a car but do note that parking can be a nightmare, particularly during the summer season.

For even more information, also check out Is Durham Worth Visiting? and Is Virginia Beach Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Virginia Beach or Durham?

How long in Durham or Virginia Beach?

Both Durham and Virginia Beach have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Virginia Beach than in Durham. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Durham, and 5-7 days is enough time in Virginia Beach.

Families should spend more time in Virginia Beach than Durham. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Virginia Beach, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Durham than Virginia Beach. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Durham that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Durham than Virginia Beach if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Durham.


  • How many days in Durham or Virginia Beach? Ideal Length of Stay
    Durham 1-3 
    Virginia Beach 5-7

One day in Durham or Virginia Beach?

In Durham, you'll find museums and nightlife. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Many travelers enjoy the nightlife when visiting the destination of Virginia Beach. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Durham or Virginia Beach?

Durham is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

Virginia Beach is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Durham or Virginia Beach?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Durham. It offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Virginia Beach. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Durham or Virginia Beach?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the city of Durham. Your budget might influence how long you stay. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Many travelers enjoy the nightlife when visiting the relaxing destination of Virginia Beach. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage, The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles.


Which place is cheaper, Virginia Beach or Durham?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Durham is $162, while the average daily cost in Virginia Beach is $126. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Durham and Virginia Beach in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Durham $92
    Virginia Beach $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Durham $184
    Virginia Beach $142
Compare Hotels in Durham and Virginia Beach

Looking for a hotel in Durham or Virginia Beach? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Durham


Hotels in Virginia Beach


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Durham Hotel Prices and Virginia Beach Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Durham $33
    Virginia Beach $39

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Virginia Beach

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Virginia Beach:


  • Beach Parking
    $10

Is it cheaper to fly into Durham or Virginia Beach?

Prices for flights to both Virginia Beach and Durham change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Durham $44
    Virginia Beach $30

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Durham $26
    Virginia Beach $21

Tours and Activities in Durham

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Durham are as follows:

  • Downtown Durham Historian-Guided Walking Tour: $16
  • Durham African American History Tour: $16
  • True Crime Tour: $13

Tours and Activities in Virginia Beach

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Virginia Beach.

  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Virginia Beach by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Neptune Ghosts: Ghosts of the Coast By US Ghost Adventures: $24
  • Ziplining and Climbing at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium: $59
  • Wetland Zip Tour: $65
  • Sunset Dolphin Kayak Tours: $68
  • Small Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour: $68
  • Dolphin Kayak Tour in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $77
  • Kayak Dolphin Experience in Virginia Beach Must know how to swim: $77
  • Virginia Historic Adventure!: $200

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Durham $34
    Virginia Beach $11


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Durham and Virginia Beach, we can see that Durham is more expensive. And not only is Virginia Beach much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Virginia Beach would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Virginia Beach and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Durham would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Durham than you might in Virginia Beach.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Durham Expensive? and Is Virginia Beach Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Durham or Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Durham. When comparing the sizes of Durham and Virginia Beach, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Durham or Virginia Beach?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Durham or Virginia Beach in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Durham as well as Virginia Beach. The family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Durham this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Virginia Beach for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Durham is generally around the same temperature as Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Durham average around 79°F (26°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Virginia Beach. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Durham this time of the year. In the summer, Durham often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach. Durham gets 259 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 279 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Virginia Beach. Durham receives a lot of rain in the summer. Durham usually gets less rain in July than Virginia Beach. Durham gets 5.1 inches (129 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Durham 79°F (26°C) 
    Virginia Beach 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Durham or Virginia Beach in the Autumn?

Both Virginia Beach and Durham are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Durham for the shopping scene. Also, many visitors come to Virginia Beach in the autumn for the natural beauty of the area.

Durham is around the same temperature as Virginia Beach in the autumn. The daily temperature in Durham averages around 61°F (16°C) in October, and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

It's quite sunny in Virginia Beach. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Durham. Durham usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach during autumn. Durham gets 211 hours of sunny skies, while Virginia Beach receives 211 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Durham usually receives less rain than Virginia Beach. Durham gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Durham 61°F (16°C) 
    Virginia Beach 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Durham or Virginia Beach in the Winter?

Both Virginia Beach and Durham during the winter are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Durham in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Virginia Beach for the cuisine during these months.

Virginia Beach can be very cold during winter. Durham can get quite cold in the winter. In the winter, Durham is a little warmer than Virginia Beach. Typically, the winter temperatures in Durham in January average around 40°F (5°C), and Virginia Beach averages at about 39°F (4°C).

In the winter, Durham often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach. Durham gets 162 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Virginia Beach receives 168 hours of full sun.

Durham usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Virginia Beach. Durham gets 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Durham 40°F (5°C) 
    Virginia Beach 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Durham or Virginia Beach in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Durham and Virginia Beach. Furthermore, the spring months attract visitors to Virginia Beach because of the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Durham is generally a little warmer than Virginia Beach. Daily temperatures in Durham average around 60°F (16°C), and Virginia Beach fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Virginia Beach this time of the year. In Durham, it's very sunny this time of the year. Durham usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Virginia Beach during spring. Durham gets 251 hours of sunny skies, while Virginia Beach receives 253 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Durham usually receives more rain than Virginia Beach. Durham gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while Virginia Beach receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Durham 60°F (16°C) 
    Virginia Beach 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Virginia Beach and Durham

Durham Virginia Beach
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 40°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 43°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 52°F (11°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 60°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 68°F (20°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Jun 76°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 5.1 inches (129 mm) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 4.9 inches (125 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 61°F (16°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 53°F (11°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)